George Clooney used Gravity profits to surprise friends with $1 million gifts
George Clooney once pulled off a reverse heist — not unlike something straight out of Ocean's Eleven — to gift his closes friends with a literal mountain of cash he reaped from working with Sandra Bullock on the 2013 Oscar juggernaut Gravity.
"Because they didn't want to pay us, they gave us percentages of the movie, 'cause they thought it was gonna be a flop, and that ended up being a very good deal," Clooney recently told GQ of his profits from the blockbuster hit, which went on to gross $723 million worldwide. As a rich, famous bachelor without familial ties (he'd only just met his future wife, Amal Clooney), he decided to pay his good fortune back to the chosen family that had supported him as a struggling actor.
"I thought, what I do have are these guys who've all, over a period of 35 years, helped me in one way or another. I've slept on their couches when I was broke. They loaned me money when I was broke. They helped me when I needed help over the years. And I've helped them over the years," the Midnight Sky actor-director said. "I thought, you know, without them I don't have any of this. And we're all really close, and I just thought basically if I get hit by a bus, they're all in the will. So why the f--- am I waiting to get hit by a bus?"
So began the process of secretly stashing $14 million — retrieved from an undisclosed Los Angeles locale where you can pick up "giant pallets of cash," per Clooney — into Tumi bags and transporting them (via an old, beat-up van) to his home, where he invited his friends to join him for the big reveal.
When they arrived, Clooney recalled holding up a map and pointing out all of the places he'd been able to travel thanks to the support his friends had given him over the years.
"I said, ‘How do you repay people like that?’ And I said, ‘Oh, well: How about a million bucks?’" he finished. "And the fun part about it was: That was the 27th, the 28th of September. A year later, on the 27th of September, just by happenstance, was the day I got married."
Clooney can next be seen opposite Felicity Jones in Netflix's The Midnight Sky on Dec. 23.